In 1970, David Evrard and his wife lived in Virginia where he worked as a patent lawyer for the U.S Department of Justice. Upon learning that the incumbent circuit court judge in Perry County planned to retire, Evrard announced his candidacy and filed paperwork to run in the May primary election for the circuit court judge position as a Democrat. He and his wife began the process of moving back to Perry County; however, it is undisputed that the couple continued to maintain their Virginia residence, Evrard continued to be employed by the federal government, their children continued to attend school in Virginia and the couple both held driver's licenses issued by the state of Virginia. The Evrards registered to vote at David's parent's house until the couple were able to sell their home and move back to Perry County later in the year after he had already won the May primary election and both he and his wife had cast votes in the May primary election.
It was undisputed that Evrard had not lived in Perry County for the previous 16 years until he established a permanent residence there in July, 1970 after he had already won nomination in the May, 1970 primary for circuit court judge. Nonetheless, the Indiana Supreme Court found that the Evrards had established enough intent to establish a voting residence in Perry County to overcome the allegation Evrard had filed false statements about his residency when he registered to vote in Perry County, filed a statement of candidacy and cast a vote in the May primary election. Justice Roger DeBruler, writing for the majority, wrote in Matter of Evrard, 333 N.E.2d 765 (1975):
Here the evidence shows without question that respondent formed the intent to establish a residence with his parents until he could sell his house in Virginia and buy another one in Perry County. The fact that the residence with his parents was intended to be for a limited period only is not decisive. Pedigo v. Grimes, supra. Both respondent and his wife were bodily present at that place periodically during the months of January, February, March and May. Both conducted themselves in Indiana and Virginia in a manner consistent with their expressed intent to move to Perry County. The steps which they took were sufficient to establish a residence at the home of his parents and to qualify them to register, declare candidacy, and vote in the Primary Election. No false statement is therefore shown to have been made in the declaration of candidacy or to be implied from the act of voting, as respondent had registered to vote and had established a residence at the home of his parents in Tell City.
Now, check out these findings of fact noted by the hearing officer in Evrard's case about the votes he and his wife cast in the May primary election:
'On May 3, 1970, David E. Evrard traveled from the State of Virginia to Tell City, Indiana, for the purpose of being present to cast his vote in the Indiana Primary Election on May 5, 1970. David E. Evrard was accompanied on his trip by Margaret Ann Buckler Evrard, who, with Respondent's knowledge, also voted in the said Indiana Primary Election of May 5, 1970.'
'Margaret Ann Yowaiski Buckler Evrard was born in Maryland and lived only in Maryland and in the Washington, D.C. area until moving to Indiana in July of 1970. In registering to vote in Perry County, Indiana on March 7, 1970, Margaret Ann gave her address as 914 11th St., Tell City, Indiana. There is insufficient evidence that Margaret Ann had her residence at that address.'
'On May 5, 1970, Margaret Ann Yowaiski Buckler Evrard voted in the Indiana Primary Election, in Perry County, Indiana. In order to cast such vote, Margaret Ann traveled to Indiana from Virginia on May 3, 1970 in a private aircraft flown and owned by David E. Evrard. All of these actions by Margaret Ann Yowaiski Buckler Evrard, were done with the full knowledge of David E. Evrard.' 'Margaret Ann Yowaiski Buckler Evrard was born in Maryland and lived only in Maryland and in the Washington, D.C. area until moving to Indiana in July of 1970. In registering to vote in Perry County, Indiana on March 7, 1970, Margaret Ann gave her address as 914 11th St., Tell City, Indiana. There is insufficient evidence that Margaret Ann had her residence at that address.'
'On May 5, 1970, Margaret Ann Yowaiski Buckler Evrard voted in the Indiana Primary Election, in Perry County, Indiana. In order to cast such vote, Margaret Ann traveled to Indiana from Virginia on May 3, 1970 in a private aircraft flown and owned by David E. Evrard. All of these actions by Margaret Ann Yowaiski Buckler Evrard, were done with the full knowledge of David E. Evrard.'
Margaret Anne Buckler (Evrard) was divorced from Lawrence Raley Buckler on April 2, 1970 by DECREE OF DIVORCE A VINCULO MATRIMONII of the Circuit Court of Arlington County, Virginia upon the basis of depositions taken 2--3--70. On 2--3--70 Margaret Anne was living with David E. Evrard at 3224 Graham Road, Falls Church, Virginia and in the course of said deposition she stated that she considered herself to be a domiciliary of Virginia and intended to remain there, and that her name was Margaret Anne Buckler. (Contents of Deposition have been stipulated)'In Charlie White's case, he has always been a registered voter in Hamilton County and physically resided in Hamilton County. The only question was which of two precincts located within 2 miles of one another within the same county he should have cast his vote. White is accused of using one voting address instead of another so he could continue serving as a town council member in Fishers where he is elected at large by all of the town's voters, even though he is designated as representing a district with geographical boundaries. Evrard actually was living in an entirely different state and had to fly back to Indiana with his wife to cast a vote at a registered voting address he claimed at his parents where neither were actually residing at the time. Evrard had not even given up his job with the Justice Department until he was called into the office of Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in April a few weeks before the primary and questioned about becoming a judicial candidate back in Indiana. The Attorney General gave him an ultimatum--either resign or be fired--because of his obvious violation of the Hatch Act. He made it clear that he could not continue serving in his job at the Justice Department while running for a partisan office back in Indiana. At that point, Evrard resigned his job, although he worked contractually with the Department to wind up the cases on which he was working over the following several months.
Margaret Ann Evrard was first issued an Indiana Driver's License in January, 1972. Prior to that time, she was licensed to drive under the name of Margaret Anne Yowaiski by the State of Maryland.'
But hold on because the facts in Evrard's case gets even more interesting. It turns out that David had married his wife while she was still married to another man. Evrard's wife had claimed her husband had been killed in Vietnam, but that turned out not to be the case. Although she later obtained a divorce from her first husband, Evrard and his wife were charged with committing bigamy. Again, the Supreme Court majority sided with Evrard:
The facts relating to this charge show that on December 29, 1969, respondent married Margaret Buckler. At that time Margaret Buckler had a living husband from whom she was not divorced. She had been informed from some unspecified source that her husband had been killed or had died in Vietnam. After the marriage, she learned that her husband was in fact living. She thereupon secured a divorce from him, and she and respondent were remarried.According to the findings of fact made by the hearing officer, neither David nor his wife had ever bothered to receive any official confirmation from the U.S. Department of Defense that confirmed her husband had been killed while serving in Vietnam as she claimed when the two were married. The record also indicated that Evrard knew his wife's divorce petition for her prior marriage had not been approved at the time he completed an application for marriage and married his wife. He instead relied on her unverified claim that she had learned her first husband had died in Vietnam. Neither bothered to inform her divorce attorney that she had learned from a person whose name she could not recall that her first husband was dead. Evrard's wife also made no attempt to obtain death benefits for herself or her children upon learning the news of his death. The Evrards remarried in May, 1970 in Tijuana, Mexico after the divorce became final. In the end, Evrard got to retain his judgeship and didn't even face disciplinary action for his admitted transgressions. I should point out that Evrard and his wife applied for their original marriage license in Harrison County, Indiana. Evrard was not charged with marriage license fraud like White has been charged--for simply putting down an address different from the one the special prosecutor claims he should have indicated on the marriage application. So will the Indiana Supreme Court hold Charlie White to a higher standard than it held Judge Evrard?
The hearing officer found that respondent had no knowledge at the time of his marriage that Margaret's husband was still living. He had been told by her that her husband was dead, and, according to the findings of fact, he believed that he was dead, although he did nothing to verify the information she had given him. Under these facts, we cannot conclude that respondent acted unlawfully when he married Margaret on December 29, 1969.
Justice DeBruler, now retired, resides in my Lockerbie neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis. DeBruler is a Democrat.